Sir Digby Jones has vowed to persuade Ford to keep Jaguar and Land Rover in his "home town" and save thousands of jobs for the Midlands.
Sir Digby, who is special advisor to Ford, said he will exert his influence as the American carmaker weighs up its options including a sale of both brands.
But the former CBI director general, who was born in Birmingham, said he had been assured that categorically no decision had been made to sell the two companies which employ 15,000 in the region.
During high level talks with Ford executives in Detroit he reminded the American firm of its duties to its employees in the Midlands. And he said the fortunes of the brands could be turned around, with Jaguar "on the cusp of something truly fabulous."
Sir Digby said: "I for one will on carry on pushing and pushing Ford to carry on with making Jaguar and Land Rover in my home town.
"My concern is not just the 20,000 who work at Jaguar and Land Rover, but the 80,000 in their families whose livelihoods depend on it. It is very important that people understand how vital making Jaguars and Land Rovers is to the Midlands.
"When companies are assessing their situation they must take into account not just making money but providing a pillar to society and the community.
"I would like to think when Detroit makes the decision, its board looks at its responsibilities. Ford has a duty to its shareholders, but also to the people of Birmingham."
Sir Digby also said Ford had taken no decision to sell Jaguar and Land Rover but was instead weighing up its options.
"There is categorically no decision to sell Jaguar and Land Rover," he said. "What has changed is Ford in Detroit has appointed Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and HSBC to come up with some options.
"One of which is the sale of Jaguar and Land Rover, one of which is to carry on as they are doing now, and the other is to carry on with them but do things differently within Ford.
"It’s true to say the possibility of sale is being considered. But it is also absolutely true to say no decision has been taken yet.
"The advisors have only just been briefed, and have now gone off to have a good look at lots of options and come back to report to the board in Detroit."
Venture capital groups Cerberus, Blackstone and Cinven were the latest groups to be linked with the two brands yesterday.
Sir Digby said the process was likely to take months not weeks, but he would be lobbying in favour of both Jaguar and Land Rover being retained.
He said: "If you look at Land Rover, it is an amazing, profitable business, which is doing really well.
"It has got waiting lists for its products and its sales, particularly of Range Rover Sport, are increasing as well, and there is a waiting list for the Defender as well."
The next 12 months were going to be crucial for Jaguar, but the company - which has 5,300 at Gaydon, Whitley, Browns Lane and Castle Bromwich in the Midlands - was capable of turning its fortunes around, said Sir Digby.
The company has suffered from declining global sales in recent years down from 119,000 in 2004 to 75,000 last year.
"They have got the XK Sports car which is selling very well, and then there is the S-type replacement – the XF.
"There are three main brands in its market – BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar. When one of those three makes a step change, the others have to play catch up.
"Next year it’s going to be BMW and Mercedes playing catch up. Jaguar is just coming good and is coming to the point where its products are much better.
"If you look at them in a year’s time, it’s going to be an infinitely better picture than a year ago or now. Jaguar is right on the cusp of doing something truly fabulous."
A spokesman for Ford's Premier Automotive Group said: "Sir Digby was taken on to give us a sense of the outside world. He has an independent and strong character with lots of good insights.
"We are working with our financial advisors to achieve the best possible future for Jaguar and Land Rover. We always listen to Sir Digby."